WALLS OF JERICHO
A Sermon by Rev Frederick M ChapinFebruary 26, 1995
So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)
Every person has tendencies that are harmful and selfish, but gives us enjoyments and pleasures. They do give us a delight. We naturally would like to indulge in them. Therefore, there is a tendency to make excuses for them. These excuses may be blatantly false, and even irrational and insane, but to us they are legitimate and even the truth. These false excuses provide protection for our affections that only pleases ourselves while those around us must suffer. They are so persuasive to ourselves that they can only be broken through a thorough examination and a sincere acknowledgement that they are false and must be removed. This process does not come naturally to our natural tendencies.
The familiar story of Joshua defeating Jericho can give us a picture of how our strong false excuses can be broken. This story teaches us that we need the Lord’s presence and guidance to have the barriers of false excuses broken and defeated. They simply cannot be defeated from our own strength or without the Lord fighting for us.
The story begins with the Children of Israel entering the Promised Land. Their long and difficult journey had finally ended and they now reached their destination. This was a time of mixed emotions. On the one hand, the Israelites were happy that their journey was over. However, it must have been frightful to see the strength of the nations who were occupying the land. Jericho was the first walled city that the Israelites had to confront. This must have been rather intimidating to see for the Israelites. They must have been discouraged after making the long journey, only to see even more difficult obstacles and enemies then what they encountered on their journey from Egypt.
The walls represent our false justifications to indulge in sensual pleasures. They make it allowable for us to live only for our own pleasure and seek to dominant over others and have them serve us. When we see these barriers from the light of the Word, they may seem to be an imposing sight. We can sense that they can not be penetrated from our own strength. We may recognize that they are wrong, but the delights that they offer to our senses make them very attractive. We may even deem them impossible to remove because they are so attractive and difficult to refuse to indulge in. Our selfish pleasures are strong and well fortified.